Daniel 6:1-28 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Daniel's Life of Prayer
Comments for Study 6

Daniel 6:1-28
Memory Verse: 6:10

BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE TO ANSWER THE QUESTIONS.
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BEFORE READING PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR A MAP OF THE PERSIAN EMPIRE IN 500 B.C.
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I. Daniel's Prayer (1-10)

>1. How did King Darius organize his empire? (1)

* Daniel 6:1 "It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom."

* 5:31-32 shows that the last Babylonian king, Belshazzar was slain when the Medes took control of the empire. Thus the head of gold in 2:39 was no more. Now the chest and arms of silver ruled Israel and all of the Middle east.

* Cyrus was emperor of the entire Mede and Persian Empire. The kingdom was very big, so it was divided into 120 states each with its own a governor. Two of the states, Babylon and Judea each had their own governor.

* "Darius" -Darius was perhaps another name for Gubaru, referred to in Babylonian inscriptions as the governor that Cyrus put in charge of the newly conquered Babylonian territories.

* Cyrus, the Persian king, destroyed the Babylonian Empire in 538 B.C. In the same year issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their native land. As many as wished to could return, and the temple could be rebuilt partially financed by the royal treasury. The temple vessels also were returned. The number of those returning was 49,697 led by Zerubbabel.

Cyrus clay cylinder

* See a picture of the clay Cyrus cylinder to the right. "When I entered Babylon in peace, and took up my royal abode in the palace of the princes amid acclamation and shouts of joy, the mighty lord Marduk inclined the great hearts of the Babylonians towards me... I liberated those who dwelt in Babylon from the yoke that chafed them... I am Cyrus, king of all things, the great king... king of all the earth..." So runs the inscription in Babylonian characters on the clay cylinder of Cyrus. The last words might almost suggest that the biblical Chronicler had them in mind: "Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath the Lord God of heaven given me..." (2 Chronicles 36:23). In 539 B.C. -a year after Cyrus had beaten the army of Nabonidus, the Babylonian king- the occupation of Babylon by the Persians settled the fate of the last great empire of Mesopotamia. The time had come of which it was said: "...after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you... in causing you to return to this place" (Jeremiah 29:10). (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>What was Daniel's position in this new government? (2)

* Daniel 6:2 "with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss."

* "three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel" -The others suffered loss when Daniel was given money, status and power.

* Most kingdoms when they conquered, would kill or subject their conquered rulers. The Medes and the Persians spared some.

* Daniel was almost 90 years old.

* Daniel served God in a totally hostile environment.

Mede and Persian

* See carving images to the right. A Mede wearing a round cap (left) and of a Chaldean wearing a headband (right). (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>How and why did the king plan to promote him? (3)

* Daniel 6:3 "Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom."

* In order to stand out not only was he favored and blessed by God, but Daniel must have made some effort.

* "distinguished" -stood out. He was characterized by excellence. He was dignified in his conduct.

* God had a purpose in all this.

* Daniel was faithful and thus God blessed him according to his plans.

* Previous chapters showed that he was tactful, kind, loving, truthful, wise, interpreted dreams, honest, pure, prayerful, eat good, etc.

* Daniel's actions and life is a foreshadow of Jesus who had no shortcomings. Nothing bad is listed in Daniel. Yet Daniel, like Jesus, received opposition to the point of death.

>2. Why did the other administrators and satraps try to find grounds to bring charges against him? (4)

* Daniel 6:4 "At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent."

* The administrators and the satraps were jealous and full of envy. Office politics can be brutal when it is full of sinful ungodly people.

* Daniel was going to accept the promotion.

* Like in Daniel's life, whenever blessing comes, training and/or testing comes before it. In Daniel's case the testing came out of nowhere. He could not have seen it coming.

Mede and Persian soldiers

* See a relief of a Mede and Persian soldiers to the right. Isaiah 21:1-2 is an oracle against Babylon. The prophet sees the Persians "Elam" and the Medes "Media" sweeping over it victoriously like "whirlwinds in the southland", to bring to an end the tyranny of the great city on the Euphrates over its subject peoples.

This stone relief of two soldiers of the guard from the town hall in the royal city of Persepolis shows us what these warriors from "Elam" and "Media" looked like. The Mede on the left wears the typical high round cap with a ribbon that hangs down behind over a mass of ringlets coiled into a bun at the neck. The short coat, trousers and boots indicate that this guardsman belongs to the famous Persian cavalry. He is armed with a spear, which he holds with both hands. The butt of the lance is decorated with a gold or silver pomegranate. At his left side he carries a sheath that holds his bow and a quiver full of arrows. Looped to his belt at his right side hangs the typical short sword of the Indo-Iranian cavalry.

The Persian on the right who belongs to the archers of the bodyguard, wears the typical tall pleated hat on top of a fine head of curly hair. A long carefully pleated robe reaches to his ankles, with a cape on top. Apart from his lance this Persian guardsman carries a bow and quiver. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>Why could they find none? (4b)

* Daniel 6:4b "They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent."

* "no corruption in him" -Only because Daniel feared God and thus lived a good life, wanting to please God.

* Most men would be corrupted by the power given them and for having it for so long, not Daniel.

* Daniel didn't abuse his power for selfish gain.

* When Jesus was in trial nothing wrong could be found in his words or conduct. (Mark 14:56, 59) The only charge he was found guilty of by the religious leaders was that he claimed to be the Son of God, equal with God.

* Daniel and Jesus had no skeletons in their office.

* In an ever changing world we must hold onto that which is unchanging and forever, the kingdom of God and the King who rules it.

>What conclusion did they reach? (5)

* Daniel 6:5 "Finally these men said, 'We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.'"

* Some of them must have known him for a long time to come to this conclusion. Perhaps they were nice to him on the outside. Yet in secret they envied and hated him.

* Daniel had a good reputation. This did not mean that he was loved and respected. In fact, like Jesus others hated him because of his righteous living. For this reason Cain killed Abel.

>3. What was the decree they persuaded the king to issue? (6)

* Daniel 6:6-7 "So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: 'O King Darius, live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den."

* "The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all" -They lied. Not all agreed since Daniel was the chief administrator and would not agree to this. He didn't even know.

>What was the ostensible reason?

* Their reason for the law was to flatter the king and to make it appear it was for the king's sake.

>What was the real reason?

* To have Daniel put to death.

* Daniel 6:7 "'The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den.'"

* The edict was not for justice and the well being of the people.

* The Sanhedrin did the same to Jesus.

* We shouldn't be surprised if it happens to us.

>Why put it into writing "according to the laws of the Medes and Persians"?

* Daniel 6:8-9 Daniel 6:8-9 "Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." So King Darius put the decree in writing.

* "which cannot be repealed" -They wanted to be assured that the king wouldn't go back on his word when their real reason was revealed. Once something was written according to the laws of the Medes and the Persians no one could change it. (See verse 12.)

>4. When Daniel heard about this decree, what did he do? (10)

* Daniel 6:10 "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

* "the windows opened toward Jerusalem" -Daniel normally prayed there because the word of God says, "When they sin against you--for there is no one who does not sin--and you become angry with them and give them over to the enemy, who takes them captive to his own land, far away or near; and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their conquerors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their fathers, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause." (1 Kings 8:46-49)

* He didn't go to the king directly for help. He didn't stop for 30 days. He did pray secretly.

* Daniel must have saw it as a test of faith. He accepted God's sovereignty in testing him. It shows that even at 90 years old he had a learning mind.

>How was Daniel uncompromising stand consistent with his previous decisions and actions? (1:8; 2:28; 4:27; 5:22; 6:10)

* Daniel 1:8 "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way."

* Daniel 2:28"'but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:'"

* Daniel 4:27 "Therefore, O king, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue."

* Daniel 5:22"'But you his son, O Belshazzar, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this.'"

* Daniel 6:10 "Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before."

* Daniel was consistent. He obeyed the king, but not when it interfered with his relationship with God. He lived his life for righteousness.

* Daniel practiced what he preached to others.

>5. What can we learn about prayer from Daniel?

* Find a proper place where one can be alone with God.

* Pray regularly. Pray consistently.

>What was his prayer topic?

* He prayed toward Jerusalem because he was praying for the restoration of Jerusalem. (10) See 1 Kings 8:46-49 quote above.

* He thanked God. (10)

* He showed no bitterness even though it was a very unfair and difficult situation.

* He could have said, "Why does this always happen to me, especially when I am so old? I did not ask for this job."

* We should be thankful in every situation.

* Our natural man could no respond this way. The new created can. Jesus said what is impossible for man is possible with God.

>How was he similar to other men of prayer? (Genesis 12:8b; Numbers 27:12-14; Mark 1:35; Luke 22:42; Luke 23:34a; Revelation 1:9)

* Genesis 12:8b "From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord."

* Numbers 27:12-14 "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'Go up this mountain in the Abarim range and see the land I have given the Israelites. After you have seen it, you too will be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was, for when the community rebelled at the waters in the Desert of Zin, both of you disobeyed my command to honor me as holy before their eyes.' (These were the waters of Meribah Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.)"

* Mark 1:35 "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

* Luke 22:42 "'Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.'"

* Luke 23:34a "Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.' And they divided up his clothes by casting lots."

* Revelation 1:9 "I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus, was on the island of Patmos because of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus."

* Abraham left everything when God told him to go. When he arrived there, everywhere he went, in any place there were no godly men other than Melchizedek. Yet Abraham always prayed and thanked God.

* Moses faithfully served God even though those he was called to lead continually complained against him and tried to remove him from a leadership role. Yet he always prayed and thanked God.

* John could have been bitter, or passive after serving God and ending up on a deserted island in punishment. Yet on the Lord's day he was praying and thanking God.

* All were thankful to God in the middle of hard times and of great personal loss.

* See Hebrews 11 for more examples.

* Prayer in troubled and trial shows love for God.

* Such prayer is not from the human point of view.

* We should always have a prayerful attitude toward God.

* There are to many examples of this for it not to be true.

II. Daniel's Life Testimony (11-28)

>6. When Daniel's enemies reported his disobedience to the royal decree to the king, how did the king respond? (11-12)

* Daniel 6:11-12 "Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: 'Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions' den?' The king answered, 'The decree stands--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.'"

>How was he finally trapped by his own law?

* Daniel, his loyal servant and administrator was the one who prayed.

* He tried to find loop holes in the law.

* Pilate also tried to find loop holes in the law in order to have Jesus released.

>What was done with Daniel? (14-17)

* Daniel 6:14=17 "When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, 'Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.' So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, 'May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!' A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel's situation might not be changed."

* "ring" -The ring made it final and unchangeable.

* Jesus was put in a tomb with the signet ring to keep him there.

>7. What could the king do?

* The king could do nothing but obey the law.

>What was his only hope? (16)

* Daniel 6:16 "So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions' den. The king said to Daniel, 'May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!'"

* "May your God" -The king had a small seed of hope and faith. He did not call Daniel's God his God, However, when Daniel was rescued it became his own personal victory and he grew in faith of the God of the Jews.

Daniel in the lion's den

See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>How did he spend the night? (18)

* Daniel 6:18 "Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep."

* The kings actions while Daniel was in the lion's den shows that Daniel had a good relationship with his boss even though his boss did not believe in the one and only true God.

>How did Daniel and Daniel's enemies probably spend the night?

* Daniel spent in peace and prayer.

* Daniel's enemies were probably rejoicing at their political victory. They probably celebrated with a party. Daniel's enemies were fattening themselves up for the lions.

* Perhaps the angle told the lions that they would be properly feed if they obeyed God now.

>8. What did the king do at the first light of dawn? (19)

* Daniel 6:19 "At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions' den."

>What did he discover about Daniel's fate?

* Daniel 6:20 "Daniel 6:20 "When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, 'Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?'"

* Daniel was alive.

* The king came to respect Daniel's faith in his God.

* The king came to have strong faith in the God of Daniel.

>What was Daniel's testimony? (21-22)

* Daniel 6:21-22 "Daniel answered, 'O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.'"

* He gave God credit first.

* His words had a tint of rebuke to the king.

>What did he learn about Daniel?

* He had great faith in God.

* It proved he was righteous.

* Jesus was resurrected and walked out of the tomb as proof of his righteousness.

>What can we learn about God? (Acts 27:22-23)

* Acts 27:22-23 "But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me.'" (Acts 27:22-23)

* He is able to save us.

* He sends his angle to comfort us and protect us.

* God stands beside those who are persecuted and suffer for righteousness, the gospel, and the name of Jesus Christ.

* God tests, but makes a way for us to be rescued if we have faith in his love.

>9. What happened to Daniel's enemies?

* Daniel 6:24 "Daniel 6:24 "At the king's command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions' den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones."

* They were thrown into the den.

* They became a bad influence to their family.

* Their corrupt life destroyed their family.

>What does this suggest about the destiny of ungodly men?

* Daniel 6:25-27 "Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: 'May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.'"

* Judgement and punishment.

* They were thrown into the den that they dug.

>What can we learn in this chapter about faith and prayer?

* Faith is practical.

* Faith is practiced when we need to overcome hard obstacles.

* The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

* Proverbs 11:5, 8, 28:10

* This is what will happen on judgement day.

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